Opening in Las Vegas, January 16, 2015


The Oscar nominations are out, and there a few more of the nominees trickling out to suburbia, while there’s also a fresh load of January manure.

American Sniper (72) just got a Best Picture nod, along with star and co-producer Bradley Cooper, though Clint Eastwood did not get a nomination (he got a producing nom, his 11th overall). This film has divided critics, but I will see it for sure.  “American Sniper is imperfect and at times a little corny, but also ambivalent and complicated in ways that are uniquely Eastwoodian.”

Who would imagine a Michael Mann film would get dumped in January? But that’s the case with Blackhat (49), which has Mann peering into the world of cyber-crime. Scott Tobias: “Though the pacing is lumpy, to say the least, Blackhat occasionally bursts to life when Mann breaks out one of his signature action setpieces, which have the distinct pop of heavy artillery and the immediacy of video.”

For the kids is Paddington (77), based on the classic books about a bear in search of a home. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: “If the film seems head-and-shoulders above the average effects-driven family-matinee flick, it’s because it never gives the impression that it’s trying to be anything more (or less) than good-natured and fun to watch.”

Spare Parts (48) looks like Stand and Deliver, except with robotics instead of math, just like the upcoming McPartland, USA looks like Stand and Deliver for cross-country running. George Lopez stars. Thomas Lee: “If “Stand and Deliver” struck many as a hard-hitting look at life in the urban ghetto, Spare Parts seems like a Disney after-school special by comparison.

I’ve seen the trailer for The Wedding Ringer (32) many times, and every time I hate it more. First, I can’t believe the premise, that grooms would have to pay big bucks for a best-man service, and second, I don’t get Kevin Hart. Jon Frosch: “A certain derivative, deja-vu quality isn’t the only sin this lazy, numbingly routine, very occasionally amusing comedy commits.”


About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

11 responses »

  1. American Sniper is on track to beat the January opening weekend record by early tomorrow afternoon. Interested to see how high it goes.

  2. I’d have to say it’s one of the most remarkable openings in the 26 years I’ve been paying attention to such things.

  3. And Blackhat’s performance is yet another sign that Chris Hemsworth is not a bankable star outside superhero franchise films. He’d better hope Marvel has plans for him beyond 2019.

    It’s also going to hurt Mann’s ability to get pictures made. At 72, he can’t really afford to go five+ years between features anymore.

  4. Paddington is terrific, don’t let Weinstein’s US marketing campaign fool you. It’s more Wes Anderson than Alvin and the Chipmunks. Great humor, lots of heart, good performances (Nicole Kidman…actually looking like she’s having fun in a movie) and it never panders. Great start to 2015.

  5. Is it still as remarkable after seeing it? I would have thought it remarkable until sitting in the theater, listening to the crowd yell at him to kill the savages and the kid shouldn’t have been there and then watching as the movie painted a portrait of the man that fucking *included* a hero’s funeral at the end.

  6. The worst moviegoing experience of my life.
    Pompano Beach, Florida.
    It was an RNC convention. All white and over 60. The guy beside me was crying after he shot the Olympian sniper. He whispered ‘We win’.
    When the kid got shot the first time, a woman said “He shouldn’t have been in the war zone.”
    When Kyle was about to kill the second kid with the RPG, another woman on my other side said “Kill the savages”.

  7. Maybe the film will have a second life as a midnight movie. Audiences can throw pacifiers and shell casings at the screen whenever Cooper guns down a kid.

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